Black forbidden rice® is a short grain rice.
The husk is grey outside; the inside grain is white. The rice appears to be black owing to high amounts of melanin in the bran. It turns purple when cooked by boiling (steaming retains the colour better.)
The name “Black forbidden rice®” is actually a modern trademarked name owned by Lotus Foods. Their marketing material says that it was reserved for Emperors. Variations even extend to if you ate it you would die, though there is no mention as to whether it was forbidden to also grow it.
The brand marketed as “Black forbidden rice” is not a sticky rice. Others black rices marketed under other names such as “Chinese Black Rice” are. They are not the same rice, however. They may even be grown in Thailand, despite being called “Chinese.”
Used a lot in desserts.
To cook in water: Cook 1 part Black forbidden rice in 2 parts water. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Then, leaving covered, remove the pot from the heat, let sit for 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
If you are cooking Black forbidden rice with other ingredients and don’t want the other ingredients to blacken, rinsing the rice with water until the water runs clear will help reduce the chance of this (and increase your water bill.) Alternatively, cook separately and then add in.
Steaming the rice allows far superior colour retention. To pressure cook, put 2 cups of Black forbidden rice in a pressure-cooker safe vessel. Add 2 1/2 cups water or stock. Season as desired, stir. Pressure cook at 10 lbs pressure for 45 minutes. Natural release.
Chinese folk medicine attributes certain medicinal qualities to Black Rice, helping with everything from moist skin to hair loss to liver disease. Black Rice was reserved for the Emperor to help promote long life for him.
Black Forbidden Rice is reputed to have been grown in Yang County (Shanghai), China since at least 140 BC (during the Han Dynasty.)